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Bp. Newton hath fully shewn, the prediction answers to Popery and the Pope: in several particulars it by no means answers either to French Infidelity or the French Republic. Hence I conclude, that Bp. Newton's interpretation is the true one.*
The period, assigned both by Daniel and St. John to the tyrannical reign of the man of sin or the little horn of the Roman beast, and the dominance of the great western Apostacy, is three times and a half or 1260 years. Here, therefore, we must define the proper mode of dating that period.
In prophecies, which are strictly chronological, the overt acts of communities, or the heads of communities, are necessarily alone considered in the fixing of dates ; because it would be impossible for us to know how to date any particular period from the insulated and unauthorized acts of individuals. But in prophecies, which are not strictly chronological, the scope is much more wide, and much less definite ; extending, not merely to communities and their heads, but to every individual whose actions the prophecies may describe. On these grounds there are two entirely different dates to the Apostacy. The first is its date, when considered as relating to individuals : the second is its date, when considered as relating to that community over which the man of sin presides. St. Paul describes the Apostacy in its first, or individual character : Daniel and St. John specify its triumphant duration in its second, or general character. Now it is manifest, that the date of the Apostacy, when considered individually, is the very day and hour when any single Christian individual was first guilty of any one of those acts which characterize the Apostacy; and it is equally
In one point, however, I certainly think his Lordship mistaken. He singularly confounds, as it appears from his citations, the man of sin, whom he rightly judges to be the first little born mentioned by Daniel, both with tbe second little born, and with the king wbo magnified bimself above every god. Thus he makes the two little borns and the king to be all one and the same power; herein being inconsistent even with his own scheme of interpretation, which had previously represented the second little born as the Roman Empire invading tbe East by way of Macedon. Mr. Kett, agreeably to his favourite plan of double accomplishinents of the same prophecy, fancies, that the man of sin is at once both the Papal and the Infidel power. (Compare Hist. the Interp. Vol. ii. p. 23, 24. with Vol. i. p. 381.) I shall hereafter shew, that such a plan is altogether untenable.
manifest, that this date never can be ascertained by man, but is known unto God alone. We can say, indeed, in general terms, that monkish celibacy, and a superstitious veneration of saints and angels, were creeping fast into the Church during the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries ; but we shall find it impossible to point out the precise year of their commencement. Such being the case, Daniel and St. John, in their chronological prophecies, consider the Apostacy only in its public and authorized capacity; and teach us to esteem the 1260 years, as being the period of the public dominance of the Apostacy, not of its individual continuance. Accordingly they both specify, with much exactness, the era, from which those years are to be computed. Daniel directs us to date them from the time when the saints were by some public act of the state delivered into the hand of the little horn : and St. John, in a similar manner, teaches us to date them from the time when the woman, the true Church, fled into the wilderness from the face of the serpent : when the mystic city of God began to be trampled under foot by a new race of Gentiles, or idolaters; when the great Roman beast, which had been slain by the preaching of the Gospel, revived in its bestial character, by setting up an idolatrous spiritual tyrant in the Church, or, as Daniel expresses it, by delivering the saints into the hand of such a tyrant; and when the witnesses began to prophesy in slackcloth. A date, which will answer to these concurring particulars, can certainly have no connection with the mere acquisition of a temporal principality by the Pope. It seems most probably to be the year, in which the Bishop of Rome was constituted supreme head of the Church with the proud title of Universal Bishop : for by such an act the whole Church, comprehending both good and bad, both the saints of the Most High and those who were tainted with the gentilism of the Apostacy considered individually, were formally given by the chief secular power, the head of the Roman Empire, into the hand of the encroaching little horn. This year was the year 606, when the reigning Emperor Phocas, the representative of the sixth head of the beast, declared Pope Boniface to be Universal Bishop: and the
Roman church hath ever since shewn itself to be that little horn, into whose hands the saints were then delivered, by styling itself, with equal absurdity and presumption, the Catholic or universal Church. The year 606 then seems to be the date of the 1260 years, and the era of what St. Paul terms the revelution of the man of sin. The Apostacy, in its individual capacity, was already in existence previous to such revelation ; hence he represents it as commencing before it: but, as soon as the man of sin was openly revealed by having the saints delivered into his hand, then apparently commenced the 1260 years of the Apostacy in its public and dominant capacity.
Hitherto I have spoken only of the western Apostacy of the Romish church, predicted by St. Paul, and represented by Daniel under the symbol of a little horn springing up out of the fourth or Roman beast, which should exercise a tyrannical authority over the saints during the period of 1260 years ; I must now notice the contemporury eastern Apostacy of Mohammedism.
In the Apocalypse, St. John describes the origin of this false religion at the beginning of the first woe-trumpet ; the blast of which introduces, in the self-same year 606, the universal episcopucy of the Roman prelate, and the commencement of Mohammedism. From the description, which he gives us of the rise of Mohammedism, it appears, that we are to consider it in the light of an apostacy no less than Popery, though an apostacy doubtless of a very different nature. A star which had fallen from heaven, or an apostate Christian minister, is said to open the bot
• I with pleasure strengthen myself with the concurring opinion of Mr. Whitaker, relative to the proper mode of dating the 1260 years; and the more so, because my own sentiments on the subject were decidedly formed, so far as we may be allowed to form sentiments on such a subject, previous to my knowing what he had written respecting it. “When then were they (the saints) thus given into his (the little born's) hand; and any authority, that may be called universal, granted to the Pope? Was it not, when he was first acknowledged Universal Bishop? Then did he become a monarch diverse from the first. Then were the souls of men, an article of merchandize in the mystic Babylon, given into his hand. And so well was this title deemed to merit the reproach of speaking great things, that Mr. Gibbon has made the following remark on Gregory. In bis rival the Patriarch of Constantinople, be condemned tbe Antichristian title of Universal Bishop, which the successor of St. Peter was too baughty to concede, and too feeble to assume. Yet, within a few years, in tbe year 606, did Boniface assume the title of Universal Bisbop, in virtue of a grant from the tyrant Phocas.” General and connected View of the Prophecies, p. 207, 208. VOL. I.
tomless pit, and to let out Apollyon and his figurative locusts : and we shall find, in exact harmony with the prophecy, that Mohammedism is in reality a sort of corrupted and apostate Christianity. Like the divine religion of the Messiah, it claims to be a revelation from God at the hand of an inspired prophet, to call the world from the vanities of polytheism to the worship of the one true God, and to declare authoritatively a state of future rewards and punishments. Like the Gospel, it professes to build itself upon the Law of Moses ; and allows the divine commission both of the Jewish legislator, and of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But, borrowing the peculiar tenet of the fallen star, it pronounces the Saviour of the world to be a mere mortal, and makes void the whole of the Gospel ; it contaminates, with licentious impurity the doctrine of future retribution ; it presumptuously thrusts the Messiah from his office ; and, like its fellow apostacy Popery, it propagates and upholds itself by the sword. It appears, moreover, from a computation which will hereafter be made from the numbers of Daniel, that, like Popery, it is to reign precisely 1260 years ; and consequently, since both these apostucies commenced in the same year, that they are both likewise to begin to be overthrown in the sume year.
Of this period nearly twelve centuries have already elapsed : we are therefore fast approaching to the time of the end, and to the day of God's controversy with the nations.
The prosperous duration then of Mohammedism being the very same as the prosperous duration of Popery,* and each being considered by the inspired writers as an apostacy or deflection from pure Christianity, we shall not wonder to find them both represented by the very same symbol of a little horn. Accordingly, as we shall hereafter see, Daniel describes Popery, or the western apostacy of the man of sin, under the image of a little horn springing up among the ten contemporary horns of the Romun beast : while he predicts the tyranny of Mohammedlism, or the eastern apostacy founded upon the anti-trinitarian doctrines of the fallen star, under the kindred image of another little horn
• The reader will of course understand, that I mean Popery properly so called, or the reign of the little born after the saints had been given into bis band.
arising out of the ruins of one of the four Greek horns of the Mucedonian beast.*
These two great enemies of the Gospel flourish during the whole space of the 1200 years comprehended under the three woe-trumpets : a third enemy is predicted as arising towards the close of those years, as continuing only a short space of time, and as perishing firmly leagued with Popery at the very time of the end or after the termination of the 1960 years. St. John brings him upon the grand stage of the world with the blast of the third woe-trumpet, and foretells that his open developement should be immediately preceded by the fall of a tenth part of the great Roman city. The miseries, with which he should afflict mankind, he figuratively describes as a harvest of God's wrath which should precede the dreadful vintage of the time of the end ; and he sets forth more distinctly the nature of those miseries under the pouring out of a certain number of the seren vials. Daniel describes the same power, as a king or state rising up after the era of the Reformation, and marked by a lawless contempt for all religion. And St. Paul, St. Peter, and St. Jude, concur in describing with wonderful accuracy the principles which should be adopted by the adherents of this power. As for St. John, in addition to what he has said upon the subject in the Apocalypse, he teaches us, that the leading badge, whereby this mon
* Here again I shall strengthen myself with the concurrence of Mr. Whitaker ; and I may here again observe, that my own opinion relative to the little born of the begoat was formed previous to my knowing what was Mr. Whitaker's opinion on the subject.“ In the seventh chapter of Daniel there is evidently given the prediction of the man of sin, or the slavery of the Western empire ; and in the eighth appears to be described ibe rise and progress of Mohammed and bis followers, or the subjugation of the Eastern. I here use the language of hesitation, not from any doubt, but from a sincere desire to avoid any just imputation of arrogance in bringing forward an interpretation, in which I am not patronized by any preceding writer. Let however only the latter part of the vision of the Ram and the Goat be seriously considered; and I think the rise, the progress, and the character, of Mobammed will be "fully manifest.” (Gen. View of the Proph. p. 91, 92.) Mr. Whitaker would have expressed himself with greater accuracy had he considered the little born as being Mobammedism, instead of Mebammed and bis followers. His present mode of interpreting the prophecy has led him into the error of applying the expression, “ he shall be broken without hand,” (Dan. viii. 25.) to the dwindling away of the Saracenic empire and the personal fall of Mobammed; whereas it relates to the destruction of the little born itself or the Mobammedan religion at the end of the period mentioned in the 14th verse ; for, if the king of fierce countenance be the little born, the breaking of tbe king must be the breaklag of the born. Gen. View of the Proph. p. 134.